Lindsey E. Fenderson, Adrienne I. Kovach, John A. Litvaitis, Kathleen M. O'Brien, Kelly M. Boland and Walter J. Jakubas A multiscale analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape Ecology and Evolution 4
We evaluated local population structure, genetic diversity, and landscape features that influence dispersal of a geographically isolated population of New England cottontails in the northeastern United States. We found that cottontails were structured into four genetically distinct populations, with evidence of recent connectivity, but no current gene flow and low genetic diversity and critically low effective population sizes. Landscape resistance models found that major highways and a river limited cottontail dispersal, while the shrubby habitat along roadsides, railroads, and utility corridors facilitated dispersal.
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